Bridesmaids is a 2011 comedy starring and co-written by Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live fame and co-produced by Judd Apatow. Wiig plays Annie, a single, late-thirties woman stuck in a dead-end job and a dead-end relationship. She faces a new source of anxiety when her old friend Lillian (played by fellow SNL alum Maya Rudolph) gets engaged to a rich guy and seems poised to leave Annie behind for her rich, fancy new friends, especially Lillian's prospective new best friend, Helen (Rose Byrne).Designed as something of a Distaff Counterpart to The Hangover and other films of its ilk, and was a massive success.
Always Someone Better: Helen is seemingly this to Annie. She constantly attempts to one-up Annie and is often successful. She is also rich and attractive, and Annie feels threatened by her budding friendship with Lillian. Played with, in that it's revealed Helen has her own problems in her life and has been overshadowing and muscling in on things more as an (admittedly rather thoughtless) attempt to over-compensate for her own unhappiness rather than maliciousness towards Annie or deliberate attempts at oneupmanship.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Annie's rant at the bridal shower starts off being about Helen's constant one-upmanship and theft of Annie's ideas, goes on to cover the stupidly extravagant shower she is throwing, and ends with a few sentences on the gigantic cookie.
Billing Displacement: The posters for the film ran with the bridesmaids theme, depicting all five of them (plus the bride) which was why Chris O'Dowd (Officer Rhodes) doesn't appear, despite playing a more important character than Wendi McLendon-Covey (Rita) or Ellie Kemper (Becca).
Chicago: The other half of the plot takes place here.
Chekhov's Gun: Annie's car's busted tail-lights and dodgy ignition. She gets in a fender-bender when the car behind her can't see her braking, and despite the minor bump the car gives up the ghost. This leads to Rhodes chewing her out for her irresponsibility (and he's definitely not talking about anything other than the lights) and adds to her ongoing Humiliation Conga.
Chick Flick: The question of whether or not this film is one is a good way to start an argument.
"Did you think all these women were going to finish that cookie? Oh, that reminds me, actually, I never got to try that FUCKING COOKIE! *runs outside and starts attacking the cookie* "STUPID FUCKING COOKIE! Oooh, delicious!"
Country Matters: Annie calling one of her customers a cunt is what finally gets her fired.
Cringe Comedy: The bridesmaid's dress fitting, the plane trip to the Las Vegas bachelorette party, the bridal shower. And when the main character is "helping" customers at work.
Deconstruction: Of the "Woman who needs to get her life together and does so over the course of the movie" genre (she instead makes it steadily worse up until the last minute), as well as a few wedding film tropes on top.
Drives Like Crazy: Annie does this on purpose to attract Rhodes' attention when he's deliberately ignoring her. He's under the impression she always drives badly, since she was swerving when he first pulled her over and keeps her car in bad condition.
"That stuff you were doing would've been dangerous for a GOOD driver!"
Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Played with. After her "The Reason You Suck" Speech fails, Megan essentially tackles/wrestles with Annie and won't let her up until Annie slaps her. It's the slap that proves to them both that Annie still has some fight left in her and is the catalyst for her starting to apologize to Rhodes.
Gilligan Cut: When picking up Lillian from her apartment before the wedding, Annie tells her that she's sure the wedding will go perfectly, and that it'll be tasteful since Helen's planning it. Cut to the wedding, which includes a really tacky laser light show.
Godwin's Law: Intoxicated Annie versus an ornery flight attendant.
"Velcome to Germany! Auf wiedersehen, asshole!"
Gratuitous Spanish: When Annie attempts to continually upstage Helen at the engagement toasts, she eventually runs out of meaningful things to say and tries to tell her something in Spanish, which comes out unintelligible.
Green-Eyed Monster: Annie's jealousy of Helen just makes everything worse for her. She's surprised to learn that Helen is jealous of her for her genuinely close relationship with Lillian, and tries to compensate with elaborate gestures because that's what she's good at.
Humiliation Conga: The movie might as well be called Annie's Humiliation Conga. She's lost all of her money in a failed business venture and been dumped shortly afterwards, is working in a dead-end job, living with a weirdo and his weirdo mooch sister, and is in a Friends-With-Benefits relationship with the aforementioned Jerkass. And that's just at the start of the movie. She goes on to lose said job and apartment, move in with her mother, drive away her best friend and a potential love interest...
"Hey, Mom. You know when you thought I'd hit bottom? That wasn't the bottom."
Actually seems to be a subtle Deconstruction of one. She tells Rita she's only had sex with Kevin, but is frustrated by his unwillingness to be open sexually, even saying desperately to Rita, "And after we've showered, sometimes he's too tired, so I say I am too, but I'm not tired! I'm not tired!", and the discussion even ends with her and Rita drunkenly making out. During the Brazilian meal, Megan is saying Lillian is probably crying about marrying Dougie, "I love him, he's my brother, but he's a fucking asshole!", Becca is seen cheerfully nodding along with the statement.
Intoxication Ensues: Annie's effort to deal with her fear of flying has unfortunate consequences.
Karma Houdini: Helen. Despite the fact that she is the antagonist in the film, she never seems to get called out on anything and continues to upstage Annie at the end of the film. This is possibly because Helen is gradually revealed to be quite sympathetic herself, and not entirely the antagonist Annie imagines her to be, being more thoughtlessly over-eager rather than actively malicious.
Our first glimpse of Helen's true nature comes when we see how her stepchildren treat her.
Helen: You guys need a ride home later? Stepson:Fuck off, Helen.
Kick Them While They Are Down: Once Helen and Annie are left by themselves at the dress shop, Helen, seeing Annie sweating and visibly trying to keep from throwing up, slowly makes her eat a candy-coated almond while taunting her about the entire scenario.
Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer and ad campaign is all about the bridesmaids as a group despite that not being the case in the movie overall. The second trailer actually portrays the movie much more accurately than the much more shown first trailer. The second trailer chooses to focus more on Annie and Lillian's friendship.
Nobody Poops: Averted in a scene where the bridesmaids get food poisoning from a Brazilian restaurant.
No Social Skills: Helen (over-) plans lavish parties to make up for the fact she has very few female friends.
Officer O'Hara: Unusual modern example of a Discredited Trope with Officer Rhodes, although he's not very stereotypically Oirish outside of the accent. Unusually for the trope, he's mentioned to be an Irish citizen rather than Irish-American.
Out of Focus: After being major supporting characters in the first half of the film Rita and Becca are more or less Demoted to Extra for the second half - they still appear but have very few lines and no plot importance.
Rage Breaking Point: Helen stealing Annie's idea for a Parisian bridal shower. Annie bites her tongue... until Lillian is presented with a bona fide plane ticket to Paris.
Annie: What woman gives another woman a trip to Paris?! Am I right? Les~bian!♪ We're all thinking it, aren't we?
[the guests shake their heads unconvincingly]
Megan: I was.
Real-Life Relative: Air Marshal John, the man Megan (played by Melissa McCarthy) hits on during the plane ride and whom later is shown attending the wedding with Megan and hooking up with her during the credits, is played by Melissa McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone.
Reality Subtext: This was Jill Clayburgh's (Annie's mom) last film, as she was secretly fighting leukemia.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Annie gets one from Megan,after Annie's meltdown at the bridal shower leads her to get un-invited from the wedding. Megan is hoping to inspire Annie to "fight for [her] crappy life" rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for herself.
Rich Bitch: Subverted. Turns out Helen is just lonely and desperate for approval and friends.
Running Gag: People at a party asking Annie "and is this your husband?" only for her to turn around and see various complete strangers standing next to her.
Stalking Is Love: Annie repeatedly trying to rouse Rhodes' attention by performing illegal maneuvers in her car. This includes speeding, tossing litter at his window, swigging booze, talking on her cell phone, doing donuts beside his car, blasting gangsta rap, and going topless. It takes bumping Rhodes' police car with hers to get him to acknowledge her.
Tantrum Throwing: Annie has an epic one at the bridal shower. She slightly overreaches when she attempts to push over an eight foot tall concrete fountain, though.
Toilet Humor: The first sign that trouble's brewing at the dress shop is when Megan lets an enormous belch/fart, apologizes, and adds "I'm not entirely sure which end that came out of."
Transparent Closet: Becca's husband, Kevin, is implied to be either gay or asexual, as he insists on having sex in the dark, under the covers, and only after they've showered...separately — and half the time, he pretends to be too tired afterward.
Twitchy Eye: Annie, when forced to choke down a snack in the midst of food poisoning.
The Voiceless: Dougie shows up in two scenes in the movie and despite being mentioned a lot, only has one line: "I do." Perry (Helen's husband) gets none, and neither does the mother of the bride.
Volleying Insults: Annie starts one of these fights with a teenage girl at the jewelry store.
Annie: I feel bad for your parents. Customer: I feel bad for your face. Annie: Okay, well, call me when your boobs come in. Customer: You call me when yours come in!
Viva Las Vegas: Subverted; the girls get kicked off the plane because of Annie's antics before reaching Vegas.
Wake Up Make Up: Both parodied and invoked in the opening scene, when Annie tiptoes into the bathroom to freshen up while her fuckbuddy is asleep. She then makes self-deprecating comments about how she looks first thing in the morning when he wakes up and compliments her.